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Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Formal Occasions, Indian, Sauces and Dips

Classic Indian Curry

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour, plus rice cook time.

Classic spicy Indian curry with pork, served with saffron rice.

Classic spicy Indian curry with pork, served with saffron rice.

Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra.

2 large cloves fresh garlic, peeled (about 1 tablespoon)
4-6 quarter-size slices peeled fresh ginger (about 1 tablespoon)
1-3 fresh serranos (optional!)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
4 cups of water (or less or up to 5 cups)
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Blend the first four ingredients until smooth, set aside.

Blend the tomato until smooth, set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion mixture 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, then lower the heat until well browned (about 10 minutes).

Add the tomato and crank it back up to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally until all the juices evaporate and drops of oil appear on the tops and sides (about 10 minutes) then turn the heat down to medium-low.

Add the seasonings (except the cilantro and garam masala) and let the sauce cook for 2-3 minutes.

Mix in the yogurt about a tablespoon at a time (very, very slowly), stirring constantly to prevent it from curdling.

Add the water and bring to a boil on high heat. Add 5 cups for a very thin sauce or fewer cups for a thicker sauce.

Reduce heat and simmer 12-15 minutes. Garnish with garam masala and cilantro.

Seen here with pork.

Do not cover! You want some of the water to boil off so the sauce becomes sauce!

If you want to add meat or vegetables to your curry sauce, do so anytime between the seasonings and the water, depending on how well cooked you like your vegies. We added cubed pork at the same time as our seasonings.

I misread the instructions and used some 3 tablespoons of ginger root. We also used one habanero pepper in place of serranos. One was plenty warm, although I think JB would have liked to have added 1/2 to 1 more. Remember that ginger can add heat to a dish, too. Unless you like hot, try it without peppers first.

Beef, Meat, Pork, Sauces and Dips

Sweet and Spicy Meatball Fondue

Total time:  Approximately 2 hours.

Beef and pork meatballs in chili and red pepper jelly from Rania Harris (KDKA Pittsburgh Today Live, January 2008) via instant messenger, so I hope it copies right.

3 slices fresh white bread
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
¾ pound ground chuck
¾ pound ground pork
Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste
2 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Flour for dusting meatballs
Vegetable oil for frying meatballs
1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1 – 10 ounce jar red pepper jelly

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, salt and black pepper to taste, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Blend mixture well, but don’t overwork, as the result will be a dense meatball. Roll the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

Heat enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of an electric skillet set to 350 degrees. Dust the meatballs with flour to coat well. Add the meatballs to the skillet and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to paper towels to drain.

Once all of the meatballs are cooked, combine the chili sauce and the red pepper jelly in a pot and heat just to the boiling point. Carefully add the meatballs and heat gently. Remove from heat and carefully pour into a fondue pot and serve following the manufacturer’s directions.

Yield: approximately 30 meatballs, 4 to 6 servings

[08:48] Jeremy: if u try it out lemme know how it is… ill tell u how that pita is

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Poultry


It's really a chicken and potato hot pocket.

It's really a chicken and potato hot pocket.

Total time:  1 hour for prep, plus 1 hour per 10 Mexi-pockets.

For lack of a better term, that’s what I call these little crosses between hot pockets and empanadas. Make them with or without meat, with or without flavor. I do not recommend putting cheese inside of them, as the dough tends to soak it all up.

Keep in mind, all ingredients are optional; I use what I have available.

2 chicken breasts
3 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1-2 poblano peppers, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 habanero or serrano peppers

That’s where I always start. My preference is to put the meat, onions, seasonings and poblano peppers in my crock-pot on low, overnight with two cups of water.

Tonight, I boiled my chicken breasts with a tablespoon of lime juice, then separated and shredded the meat with two forks.

Boil your diced potatoes until they’re tender, but not soft, about 5 minutes. In a skillet, fry your onions and garlic until your onions start to turn clear, about 3 minutes on med-high. You can add any other vegetables or peppers at this time and fry them in the skillet – if you are not using a crock-pot, then I’d definitely fry all of your vegetables before putting them in your mixing bowl.

Place shredded meat and fried vegetables in a large mixing bowl. For potato pockets, we normally do the following for flavor:

1 tablespoon California chili powder (for color!)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
juice of one lime

It's the Empanadalamo!

It's the Empanadalamo!

Add to your vegetable mixture, mix well… or add nothing and use it as is!

I like to scoop my mix into empanada shaped pastries, but you could also just make burritos or lettuce wraps.

Typical accompaniments:
salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, green onions, lime

Try it with:
shredded beef, pork or tofu; black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans; corn, carrots, peas, cabbage, spinach – frozen, canned or fresh (but not all at once!)

You can place your uncooked hot pockets or empanadas on a cookie sheet and freeze separately, then pile them all up in a freezer bag for later use. Or cook them all at once; they keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer, and they reheat amazingly well (must be the shortening in the dough?).

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Meat, Pork

American Polpette (Meatballs)

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Total time:  1 hour, plus pasta cook time.

1 pound hamburger
1 pound pork sausage (I like to use a roll of Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Regular Sausage)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 roll of Ritz crackers (approx. 17-20 crackers)
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 tablespoon dried onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place meat into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle seasonings on top of meat. Crush crackers into fine pieces across meat and seasonings. Add eggs and mix by hand for 3-5 minutes.

Shape into meatballs and place in an oven safe baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Lift the edge of the aluminum foil to allow steam to escape. Bake 15 more minutes.

Seen here with spaghetti, Classico’s tomato and basil sauce, and asiago cheese.

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Meat

Kefta (Moroccan Meatballs)

Kefta with extra onions and couscous.

Kefta with extra onions and couscous.

Total time:  1 hour.

Adapted from the Kraft Food & Family recipe for Moroccan Meatballs.

2 lb. ground beef
1 cup coffee, cooled
3 Tbsp. honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 medium onion, thinly sliced

COMBINE coffee, honey and cornstarch; set aside. In a large bowl, mix meat and seasonings until well blended. Shape into 24 meatballs.

COOK in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 10 min. or until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high.

ADD onions to skillet and cook 1 minute. Add coffee mixture to skillet; stir until meatballs and onions are evenly coated. Bring just to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 min. or until meatballs are cooked through (160°F) and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

I’ve made these a couple of times now, and this is the combination I like best. The original recipe just didn’t have enough flavor for me – my coffee overwhelmed everything. (Strong coffee will do that.)

Kraft drops the brand names for coffee, but I use whatever was brewed that day. I wouldn’t drink bad coffee, so why would I want to cook with it? 😛

Last time, served these with couscous.

Breads and Desserts, Cuppylicious!


Bread Bible "popovers" that turned into dutch babies.

Bread Bible "popovers" that turned into dutch babies.

Total time:  45 minutes, plus time to make everything room temperature before beginning (about 1 hour at my house)

I normally leave the breads and baking to JB, but one day, I was making beef stew, and I decided to make bread to go with it. I had no idea that bread took so long… so I revised my search for “something faster”. I found this super awesome looking recipe for popovers in JB’s copy of The Bread Bible, and I thought: HAH! I can do that! I followed her detailed instructions to a T, because I wanted so desperately to show off. The result is shown to the right.

Completely disheartened, I turned to Alton Brown for help.

* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 teaspoon room temperature for pan
* 4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (we used normal table salt)
* 2 large eggs, room temperature
* 1 cup whole milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a 6-cup popover or 8-cup cupcake pan with the 1 teaspoon of butter.  ( I used a 6-cup cupcake pan, and I had to do 2 popovers by themselves in a second round… not smart.  I now own a 12 cup cupcake pan, and I fill the 4 extra cups with water.)

Alton Brown's Popovers at the 30 minute mark.

Alton Brown's Popovers at the 30 minute mark.

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. (I whisked it for 3 minutes.)

Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the popover pan, each should be about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm.

The biggest key to this recipe is to make ALL of your ingredients be ROOM TEMPERATURE!! I cannot stress that enough! Cold eggs and milk will yield cute little dutch babies, which were dense little yummy treats, but not at all what I wanted. 😉

The second thing to remember is – as much as your heart desires to open the oven door to check on your popovers, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Just put them in there, set the timer, and walk away.

Cuppylicious!, Sauces and Dips

Sweet and Spicy Lime Marinade

Total time:  2 minutes, plus marinate and cook time.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons spicy vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced ginger or 2 teaspoons ginger powder
juice of one lime

Mix them up, marinate for 20 minutes to 24 hours.

This is my favorite for “I don’t know what I want to do for dinner” flavor. I can easily add something else to give it a different accent (turmeric and cumin for Indian, cumin and ancho or chipotle for Mexican, etc)… but this is the very basic.

Something to keep in mind when you make any marinade: You need an acid and an oil. You can use any type of oil (peanut for Asian dishes is a neat touch), and any kind of breakdown compound (vinegar, lemon, lime, wine, etc). The purpose is to take a tough meat and make it tender. If it’s chuck roast you want to soften up, you should probably slice against the grain into small pieces and marinade for several hours. If it’s chicken, 20 minutes to 2 hours normally does the trick.

Beef, Crock-pot Cookin', Cuppylicious!, Meat, Soup and Salad

Beef Stew

Beef Stew before stewing

Beef Stew before stewing

Total time:  5.5 to 10 hours.

It all depends on the size of your crock-pot. I use the larger amounts now because I have a 5 quart Rival crock-pot!

1-2 pounds of beef, any style cut, chopped into 1″ to 2″ cubes
3-4 potatoes, quartered
2-3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1-2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste

Place into crock-pot in this order:
Sambal Oelek
remaining seasonings except salt

Fill crock-pot with water until just below the vegetables – or to the tops of the vegetables. Cook on high for 1 hour, then simmer for 4 to 6 hours. Alternatively, just let it simmer 8 to 10 hours. Salt to taste just before serving.

Caution! Sambal Oelek is HOT HOT HOT!

I normally use a normal spoon to dish out my Sambal Oelek, and I use one heaping and a half scoop, which is about the equivalent of 1 tablespoon. That’s about as warm as I like it. Some chili isn’t that hot. Just use caution.

I start my crock-pot at 9:30am, and it simmers until 6pm. I don’t use any thickeners, but if you like your stew thick, definitely add some potato or cornstarch just before serving.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Side Dishes

Spicy Green Peas with Onion and Ginger

Spicy green peas and onions with saffron rice and spiced chicken.

Spicy green peas and onions with saffron rice and spiced chicken.

Total time:  Approximately 30 minutes.

Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra.

16 oz. package of frozen peas, thawed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or 1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 serranos, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional!)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of mango powder (or just add another teaspoon of lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
salt and pepper to taste

Caution! Turn on your overhead fan if you have one, or open the windows before you begin!

1. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick wok or skillet over medium-high heat and add the ginger, green chile peppers, and cumin seeds; they should sizzle upon contact with the hot oil. Quickly add the onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the coriander, ground cumin, cayenne, turmeric and salt, then mix in the peas and cook, stirring until all the juices evaporate and the spices cling to the peas (10 to 12 minutes). Mix in the mango powder and/or lemon juice. Sprinkle with garam masala just before serving.

We never use mango powder, and I don’t think we’re missing anything by skipping that ingredient. When we made these the first time, we used 2 serrano peppers and the full cayenne portions. We really had no idea how spicy it was going to be. I may be part Thai, but I’m not a fan of hot foods. I can eat them like the best of them, but I’m not a fan. With two peppers and the cayenne, these were so spicy hot, they turned me off. JB loved them, though. The second time we made them, we emitted the serranos completely, and they were mild enough that our 1 year old ate them (and LOVED them).

Pictured with Taste of India chicken rub and saffron rice.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Sauces and Dips


Basic Raita

Basic Raita

Total time:  Approximately 10 minutes.

3 cups plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
2 tablespoons minced ginger or 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
5-6 scallions, white and light green parts, minced
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1-2 serranos with seeds, minced
1 teaspoon of sugar
salt and pepper to taste (optional!)
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika (optional!)

Mix it all up. We often serve it in the yogurt container.

Goes well with crackers, chips, pretzels, vegies, and all things Indian.